University of Alabama
University of Georgia, Texas A&M University (US); University of Science & Technology - Kumasi (Ghana)
Jia-Sheng Wang, Timothy Phillips
Although large proportions of people worldwide are affected by HIV infection and aflatoxin exposure, there has been no investigation/documentation of the role of aflatoxin in immune impairment and disease status in HIV infected individuals. Our goal for this project is to conduct a well-designed epidemiological and clinical study that provides information on the effects of aflatoxin on health and immune status especially in HIV-infected people. By providing the information to the scientific community and the public at large it is expected that serious attention will be paid to this matter so that further research can be conducted and appropriate interventions taken to reduce aflatoxin exposure. The overall health impact of these activities should be tremendous considering that approximately 4.5 billion people living in developing countries are chronically exposed to aflatoxin in the diet and most of these are already exposed to a myriad of infectious diseases and have poor nutritional status.
1. Determine the association between aflatoxin biomarker levels and socio-demographic/economic characteristics of HIV- and HIV+ people in Ghana." 2. Determine the association between aflatoxin biomarker levels and health and clinical status (hepatitis B and C infections, malaria Ag, liver function, CD4 count, HIV viral load, occurrence of opportunistic infections) of HIV- and HIV+ people in Ghana. 3. Determine the association between aflatoxin biomarker levels and micronutrient status (vitamin A & E, zinc, and selenium levels) of HIV- and HIV+ people in Ghana 4. Conduct cellular immune analyses using PBMCs from participants at recruitment and analyze data to identify immune impairments associated with aflatoxin biomarker levels in HIV+ individuals (will compare HIV- with HIV+ participants). Examine interaction between HIV and aflatoxin on immune status. 5. Conduct a follow-up study and examine the association between aflatoxin biomarker levels and progression of HIV disease to AIDS (CD4 count, HIV viral load, types of opportunistic infections, and HIV stage). 6. Determine the association between aflatoxin biomarker levels and the occurrence of active tuberculosis infection in HIV- and HIV+ people in Ghana. 7. Determine the association between aflatoxin biomarker levels and health status (malaria, HBV, HCV, intestinal helminth infections, Hb, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E) in pregnant women and on birth outcomes (low birth weight, pre-term delivery, small for gestational age, stillbirth) in Ghana.